16 December 2009
Now I'm back and refreshed and ready to crack on with book 3, which is to be part of the 'Young, Hot and Royal' mini-series. Here's hoping it runs more smoothly than Bk 2.
Over on eharlequin there's an open house post party this afternoon. Come along and join the party!
23 November 2009
Oh dear. My hero could be in for a rocky ride. He should just be thankful that she draws the line at shooting people.
18 November 2009
In the meantime, I've been jotting down ideas for Book 3, and BDD has had another lovely review. Lovely Julie at Cataromance says:
"Romance fans get ready to add a brand-new name to your auto-buy list: Lucy King! Last year’s winner of the Feel the Heat competition, Lucy King’s brand of sexy, sassy and feel-good modern romance is sure to be a hit with readers the world over! ...
... Bought: Damsel in Distress is simply fabulous! I couldn’t resist gobbling up this delicious contemporary romance in a single sitting. Lucy King has created a thoroughly modern and believable character in Emily and Luke is a gorgeous Alpha male who will make women swoon with delight! Refreshing, romantic and wholly enjoyable, this fabulously uplifting, emotional and captivating tale heralds the start of an exciting new voice in category romance and I cannot wait to read more sensational romance by the hugely talented Lucy King!"
The whole review is here.
06 November 2009
And if that wasn't exciting enough, Bought: Damsel in Distress has had a review! From Caro (clearly a woman of great insight and exceptional taste) on the Mills & Boon community site:
'The best of the August-by-mail, October-in-the-shops bunch I think. Lucy King won the 'Feel the Heat' competition with this submission and the editors picked a good one here. I hope she keeps up such an excellent standard in future books and she is one to watch. The premise is very unusual and I look forward to her plot devices to come.'
Well, that's made my week.
02 November 2009
Good luck to everyone who's entered the Harlequin Presents Writing Competition.
23 September 2009
Yes, that's right. Book Two has finally gone in. Woefully short and almost certainly coming back to me with more revisions, but frankly after working solidly on the thing for weeks and getting up at 4am for the past three days I'm just glad I don't have to look at it any more.
By way of celebration, I'm off to Oktoberfest tomorrow.
16 September 2009
01 September 2009
15 August 2009
But thanks to a Google alert, look what I found - the blurb for Bought: Damsel in Distress!
Luke Harrison is always in control. But ever since he bid for the chance to save a green-bikinied beauty he's felt his self-possession slipping away...
Independent Emily does not want rescuing - until Luke, a smouldering knight in shining armour, swoops in on his private jet and starts to change her mind!
Neither is prepared for the heat between them as Emily unbuttons her steely-eyed billionaire, or for when their no-strings fling leads to pleasure beyond their imagining...
Can't wait to get my hands on a copy!
24 July 2009
It's the Hospes Palacio del Bailio in Cordoba and I can't wait. I've been welded to my computer over the past few weeks and am the only person in this town without a tan. But with a pool this gorgeous I might just manage to prise myself away from my laptop for a minute or two.
What are you up to this weekend?
17 July 2009
15 July 2009
09 July 2009
My editor is truly the most patient, forgiving, understanding person on the planet. Of course she may well be rueing the day she took me on and planning to replace me with the winner of the new iheartpresents competition!
20 June 2009
Last night I had a bit of an epiphany. Well, actually, my husband had it for me. I was trying to explain the plot in the latter half of my story, which currently involves a villain, the illegal supply of appetite supressants and a touch of blackmail. Slightly tortuous but relevant, and all leading to a point where my heroine faces losing her business.
With one eye on Newsnight, my husband said, 'That sounds a bit complicated. I'm confused. Can't the bank just call in her loan?'
Well, yes, it could. And the result would be the same. With a lot less effort on my part. Setting up the whole villain/blackmail scenario was getting a bit convoluted, becoming rather far-fetched, and generally causing me major headaches. Simply having the bank get cold feet and withdrawing her loan is far more realistic, ties in with what's already happened and keeps the focus far more on the hero and heroine.
My learning curve isn't so much a curve as a vertical line.
19 June 2009
05 June 2009
When I accepted the contract I thought I'd have Book 2 done and on the editor's desk. Hmm. Still, a change is as good as a rest, and am hoping that spending a week immersed in something totally different has given my writing muscles time to refresh. And after endless discussions about the acceptability of various spellings of the word 'Tuesday' and what exactly constitutes effective communication, I'm quite keen to get back to Phoebe and Alex.
28 May 2009
If that isn't a boost to crack on with the mess that is Book 2 I don't know what is. I'm slicing my way through it, have asked for an extension, and with any luck may even get some proper sleep soon....
26 May 2009
Now that I've stopped wailing and tearing my hair out and have managed to drag myself off the funeral pyre that is Chapters 1-3, I'm getting stuck into the rewriting. And I'm actually quite enjoying it.
The editors were absolutely right, and most of their comments reflected what I'd already guessed. Basically my first three chapters fell into the trap of relying on sexual attraction cliches and didn't really identify the core conflicts of the characters. I'd also got too caught up in sparky banter and had kind of forgotten about motivations and consistent behaviour (which I think may well be the cause of the problems I've been having with a saggy middle). Oops.
The story now starts from a different point, the minor cocaine-themed subplot (which doesn't really fit in with 'fun sexy escapist read') is going to be replaced with anorexia-plus-a-fondness-for-appetite-suppressants-themed subplot, and I'm hoping the middle will turn out to be nice and toned.
Fingers crossed I've got it more right this time...
19 May 2009
11 May 2009
I spent the weekend in Barcelona at the first of May's weddings. The bride was a friend from the days when I lived there, and the wedding itself was gorgeous from start to finish. I'm not sure my cava-assisted 'dancing' was quite as classy, but happily I can't remember too much about it, and luckily there doesn't seem to be any photographic evidence.
Thanks to my lovely little Samsung notebook I even managed to get quite a lot of writing and editing done. I've been mildly panicking that my story has too much external conflict and not enough internal, so this week I'm planning to pile on the torment.
With a deadline zooming in faster than Jenson Button in his very speedy car, and an aim to finish the book before the next wedding (in two weeks), I may disappear for a while...
06 May 2009
My hero whisks my heroine off to Scotland in a Diamond Twinstar DA42. Now I've never seen one, let alone flown in one, but this morning, thanks to youtube, I've been to Biggin Hill Airport and have taken off and landed in this little plane so many times I can smell the jet fuel. And all without leaving my desk. Marvellous.
Don't you just love youtube?!
04 May 2009
Losing 1000 words overnight was not part of the plan. I'm convinced I saved the document before closing down my computer last night (am a bit fanatical about this) but they weren't there this morning. So where did they go??? Grrrr. Not a good start to the week.
Hope yours is going better!
28 April 2009
19 April 2009
So I wonder what response I'd get if I asked: What's going to happen in Chapters 7-12 of my Book 2? How do I know if my hero is crossing the line between fliriting and lechery? How can I make sure my heroine's sympathetic when she's supposed to highly competent and capable? Do I have enough internal conflict? Are my secondary characters taking up too much pagetime? And then my biggest concern: is it too similar in style/vocabulary/phrasing to Book 1 or is that kind of the point?
17 April 2009
So do I give in and open another word doc? No. Partly because I know what I'm like (I have a dozen started stories in a folder called 'Ideas') but mainly because my deadline of June 1 is approaching with alarming speed. Instead I've bought a little notebook and am jotting my new ideas in there. In the meantime Phoebe and Alex are rolling around in the mud in Scotland.
(Update: Oh, and this morning a breakfast show on national Spanish radio played a joke (in a fairly loose sense of the word) on the lovely Hugh Jackman, who is as good a sport as he is gorgeous. If you want to listen, and it's in a mixture of English and Spanish, click on the link that begins 'Descargar...')
13 April 2009
09 April 2009
08 April 2009
But what has been spectacularly helpful is Dr Wicked's Write or Die (thanks to Julie Cohen for the tip). This fabulous widget makes you write or else something nasty happens. This morning I wrote 1200 words in 45 mins.
02 April 2009
On the proof front I've counted 153 'just's, 30 'suddenly's and 34 'clench's (in varying forms) so now I need scissors to go with my fine-toothed comb. My editor didn't make many changes to my ms, and all are for the better, but there is one line that was added that had me thinking 'please, no!'.
27 March 2009
The last time I read the story, about a week after I'd sent the revisions to my editor, I noticed that my heroine's sister, Anna, briefly becomes an Alice. Oops. Schoolgirl error. (Cue absolute horror and cold sweat and the conviction that they'd whip the contract back.) But then I reckoned that someone more eagle-eyed than me would pick this up while cutting dialogue and removing any madey-uppy words. However, Alice is still there and I'm wondering what else is lurking. Yikes. I'd better go and find a fine-toothed comb.
26 March 2009
The thing is, I'm not really that into my characters and the plot hinges on complications that I haven't even begun to work out. I realise (hope) this will pass. I've been looking over the drafts of my last book, and the end result was nothing like the earlier versions. But I can't help wanting this one to be perfect first time. Hmm, I guess there's nothing for it but to plough on through.
19 March 2009
17 March 2009
Take my heroine, for example. She's sworn off men for, like, ever. So what does she spend most of Chapter One doing? Flirting with the hero and agreeing to have a drink with him. Aaagghh. Why she'd want to do this when he's being such a sap, is beyond me. I need to totally rewrite, which means I might as well scythe through the rest. Oh, happy days.
With any luck and if this is anything like the last book, the tortuous first half will morph into a far easier second half. Here's hoping. Does anyone else head off in totally the wrong direction and blindly keep going, or is it just me???
16 March 2009
10 March 2009
But unfortunately I find writing is like exercise: the longer the break, the harder it is to get back into the habit. This requires self-discipline. Will power. Determination. Just sitting down, turning off the phone and getting on with it. Hmmmm. Tomorrow. I shall start again tomorrow.
03 March 2009
However, I know from experience that I can't finish the whole thing before going back to tidy up. I have to edit as I go along in order to move forward, and an edit is long overdue. But is there anything more demotivating than a decreasing (and it would be decreasing) wordcount? Ho, hum...maybe when I get to 20k...
Obviously this means I've been procrastinating. Single line spacing or double line spacing? Big margins or little margins? One document or lots of little ones? Music or silence? A glass of wine or a bottle? How do you write?
27 February 2009
Three quarters of the synopsis dealt with the characters, a quarter with the plot. Given recent discussions on Jackie's blog I was a bit worried that the heroine's conflict might be too defined by her parents, but I seem to have somehow avoided this particular pitfall.
However, the plot isn't problem free. No indeed. I might have given them only a 200 word summary, but my editor spotted a potential plot device which I must Avoid At All Costs, and as I suspected Scotland may have to go. Other than that it's full steam ahead. Or in my case, chugchugchug. I feel like I'm about to set out across the Atlantic in a dinghy.
26 February 2009
Which is slightly concerning since these labels must sell books. However the title is alliterative and does, at least, contain the word 'bought'. Phew.
The book is called.......wait for it.......
Bought: Damsel in Distress.
23 February 2009
22 February 2009
Chapter 1 is entirely from the heroine's point of view so I’ll stick with her for the moment. The main external conflict point in this chapter is that Emily is going to a wedding that she really doesn’t want to go to with a complete stranger. So that’s the external conflict sorted (I think). Now how about the internal variety?
Well, the short answer is there isn’t any. At least not the gut-twisting, heart-wrenching, deeply introspective type. Intense emotional conflict prevents the characters from being together when they want to be. At the beginning of my story, Emily and Luke are strangers. Like many people, neither is the sort to jump into bed with someone they’ve only just met and then declare their undying love, so as I see it, they don’t need intense emotional conflict to keep them apart. And as they don’t really know each other, neither of them has much to lose if they walk away and never clap eyes on each other again, so the emotional stakes are not particularly high.
Emily’s inner conflicts then, the ones that affect her behaviour and reactions in this chapter, are not intense. They’re more about revealing her character and moving the story forward than causing deep emotional angst. She doesn’t want to go to the wedding of her ex-fiance to another woman (franky, who would?) and so she's cross with her bossy older sister for interfering. However she's also battling this guilty feeling that she really owes it to her sister to go. Additionally she thinks that she’s over her old relationship, but then reflects that maybe she isn’t. Internal conflict, yes, a bit. Angst, yes, but minimal.
But then there’s also the hint of conflicts to come, like Emily’s attitude towards motherhood and her reaction to her sister’s revelation that the money raised in the auction is to go to a charity that prevents maternal mortality. Things which are far more likely to cause major anguish if they’re challenged (and of course they will be) further down the line.
Luke, without his own point of view, is more shadowy. What’s going through his head only comes out through his actions, reactions and words. He’s attracted to Emily but probably doesn’t want to be. He’s also reluctant to reveal the real reason why he bid for her, which means it must be a big deal to him and very personal. If it wasn’t he’d just come out and say it. But he doesn’t. Just as Emily doesn’t tell him the real reason why she doesn’t want to go to the wedding. What’s more, they each suspect the other is holding back on this. (Could this be construed as conflict? I’m not sure.)
Which brings me on to another point: how do you know what to reveal when? Now this is only my very inexperienced opinion, but I reckon that backstory should be woven into the action/dialogue/introspection if and when it’s needed to explain a character’s motivations. (I think I may have broken a rule or two with my flashback though, so don’t take my word for it.) And it's a similar thing with foreshadowing. Which is why I have to constantly dart back and forth through my ms as I write filling in bits to make sense of what I've just written.
I think it's Kate Walker in her 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance who likened emotional conflict to an onion. Lots of layers. By peeling off and dealing with each layer, you reveal another and another until you get to the heart of the matter. In the case of Mills & Boon romance, each layer also tends to be worse than the previous one.
To continue with the onion analogy, I reckon that each layer should be peeled off at the point where it’ll have most impact. At the beginning of my story, if Luke said to Emily as they’re getting off the plane, ‘Enjoy the wedding. Oh, and by the way I’ve sworn off love because my wife died and I never want to go through that again’, she’d probably think she’d had a lucky escape. If, on the other hand, he tells her that just after she’s realised she’s in love with him, well, that’s going to have a dramatic effect.
Does any of this make any sense whatsoever? Obviously my waffling above is only my opinion and refers to my story and my characters. The intensity, nature and focus of emotional conflict will be different in each story and there are many other more experienced writers out there who are far better at dissecting this sort of thing than me. Anyway, I've gone on for quite long enough, but I’d be fascinated to hear other opinions and if anyone has any questions, do ask.
20 February 2009
Not only is Mills & Boon going militant, up in arms about Warrington Station's kissing ban, but Feel the Heat runner-up Jackie Ashenden has been running a fascinating series of posts about external v. internal conflict, stereotypes and editorial feedback.
Which got me thinking about how I go about setting up a story. Messily and randomly, generally; my thought processes are a work in progress in themselves.
But take my latest WIP which is still by-and-large plotless. I recently read an article about how one of the few industries to actually do well out of recession is PR. So I thought, OK, my heroine will work in PR. A good excuse to write glam launch party scenes, if nothing else. So what sort of person would work in PR? Extrovert, good at socialising, confident, a people person. Fine.
Now, let's make her the owner of her own PR agency. She's obviously driven, successful and independent, but why? Well, what if she comes from an over-achieving family where great things are expected from all family members and failure is not an option? And what if (given the brilliance of her siblings) she's not entirely convinced that she's up to the job? How would that manifest itself? And what if she's rubbish with men? As she's been brought up to pursue success and avoid failure, she'd probably steer well clear.
So what would be her greatest fears? Failure would be one, I guess. And that someone will see through her. Oh, and (to a lesser extent) meeting an irresistible man who's not much of a people person and is a bit of a loner. For her inner conflicts to really come into their own, then, she needs to fail at something. Big time. And she needs to meet the hero, who naturally is not much of a people person, is a bit of a loner but has an uncanny ability to see through people.
And then we start on the hero. If he's going to be a loner then he'll rely on himself and he'll have a loner-y kind of job. But why would he be a loner? Why wouldn't he rely on anyone else? And why is he good at seeing through people? And what would he really really hate to happen?
Crikey, this sort of analysis could go on for ever. With any luck the answers will lead me to the plot, although I'm rather hoping my characters will do it for me. The only thing I do know is that whatever does happen, it'll make them confront their fears and they'll hate it.
And as if that wasn't enough, all this needs to happen against a backdrop of sparkling repartee and smouldering looks. I suddenly feel quite weak.
16 February 2009
Anyway, I had hoped that the trip last weekend to meet my new nephew might provide some inspiration. But through the mist and drizzle it was hard to see much at all (although a visit to the Glengoyne whisky distillery was, um, illuminating).
This is worrying. Scotland in February is cold, wet and windy and my heroine, I fear, will spend quite a bit of time being cold, wet and grumpy. Not very glamorously sizzlingly Modern Heat, is it?
11 February 2009
There is even a suggestion that an ideal Valentine gift For Her might be a silver-plated afternoon tea stand. I kid you not. This is apparently the ideal gift because 'afternoon tea is always well-received'. Better not come and visit me then. (Not only because of the lack of afternoon tea but also because I currently have my nose stuck in 'Love Letters of Great Men' which serendipitously arrived in my Amazon delivery yesterday and wouldn't be the best company.)
So what is love? What is romance? Is it lovenotes stuck to the bathroom mirror? Two dozen roses? Being told that 'a reasonable man might gladly travel three or four thousand leagues to see your nature, and your wit, in their full perfection'? Or is it silver-plated afternoon tea stands?
(I'm off to Scotland tomorrow for a few days, so Happy Valentine's Day!)
07 February 2009
a) What tip would you give your readers to make their lives more romantic?
b) What is the one thing you've always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try?
My immediate thoughts were a) Me? I'm not one of the most romantic people on the planet and am therefore hardly qualified to give tips and b) Naturally the only things I can think of are either illegal or immoral.
But I don't think this is quite what they're after so unless anyone has any better ideas, I shall probably have to plump for a) take time to listen and b) bungy jumping.
05 February 2009
They say that writing the second book is much harder than the first. I don't know about this yet because goodness, it's hard to concentrate when you're waiting for the verdict on revisions...
02 February 2009
I also tried to set up a website but after about half an hour my brain melted.
What did you get up to?
31 January 2009
Ah, M&B Modern Heat alpha males... Gorgeous, authoritative, ruthless, sometimes tortured, often perplexed.
But do they really exist? Should they exist? Would you want to live with one? Do you live with one? Does anyone actually know a truly alpha male? Here's a lady who has some interesting views on the subject: The Romance Hero v the 21st Century
(And here's a moral dilemma for a Saturday - if a Modern Heat hero came knocking on your door, promising the sort of things only a Modern Heat hero could, what would you do?)
30 January 2009
29 January 2009
28 January 2009
27 January 2009
23 January 2009
Apparently these are minor, but as I have nothing to compare them with, I've no idea whether they are or not. But Kim, my editor, says they're tweaks and who am I to argue with the person who also said that my story has 'intense emotional conflict, excellent dialogue, appealing characters and an engaging plot'? (Although personally, I'm convinced she's got my book muddled up with a proper writer's.)
So, these tweaks...
Mainly I've skipped over some of the most crucial emotional moments. Those'll be the chapters at the end that I galloped through then. Heavy on dialogue, light on emotional exploration.
At the moment the emotional events happen off stage. This is Not Good as the reader takes on the role of observer instead of seeing the action through the characters' eyes and is pulled out of the story. And that affects the pace. Now this is something I probably should have known, but didn't. Like I should probably have realised that my hero is a control freak. And known that my heroine on occasion accepts things a little too easily. It all seems kind of obvious now. As is how little I do know...
So this week, I've been struggling up that learning curve with a highlighter pen and postit notes and am working on upping the emotional ante.
21 January 2009
15 January 2009
I have to do some tweaking in the next couple of weeks (minor revisions, apparently, although they seem huge to me - I mean, what if I do them wrong? Yikes...) but am obviously over the moon. Whooppee!!
Dear Ms Robinson,
Having lost my job as a derivatives trader, I have been looking at my options and am thinking of becoming a writer since I can afford to take some time off. My friends tell me that my anecdotes are brilliant and I should write them down. They say everyone has a novel in them, so why not me? I notice you have written a number of books and am wondering if you can tell me where to start.- CB
Do you see Ms Robinson suddenly announcing she wants to try her hand at mathematical modeling? No, you do not. Does Ms R think she can be a plumber because she can turn on a tap?
One of the things that full-time writers hate is people who think they can write; they assume there is little skill needed and just the fact that you can read and spell equips you to write. (It's the same way for people who get Photoshop and think they are graphic designers.)
As for writing classes, the less said the better. You either can or you can’t. You might well have a book inside you, but do keep in mind we have many things inside us: kidneys and a liver, for example, and these are best kept where they are. You see my point CB?
Writing is not about sitting in a cottage overlooking the sea and penning a paragraph or two while looking forward to tea at 4pm. It’s about serious plotting, planning and dedication. The best writers cannot afford to take time off: they are at it day and night. Should you manage to pen a novel, chances are you will be thrown on the slush pile. Even if an agent takes you on, there is still a lot of work to do.
That is why writing is not something you try your hand at, it is a passion. If you had it, you would have written by now.
14 January 2009
No central heating + no insulation = internal temperature of considerably less than outside.
Even with my little electric heater I'm currently sporting furry boots, tights, thermal leggings, pyjama bottoms, yummie tummie, t-shirt, wool poloneck, polar fleece, cashmere shawl. A most attractive combination. What I really need is a pair of fingerless gloves to prevent frostbite and complete the overall baglady look.
I envy you guys in the southern hemisphere...
12 January 2009
It varies a bit from the original synopsis, especially the last third, which I reckon is no bad thing. While I actually quite like it, the end (as suspected) does feel horribly rushed and quite a few other bits need tweaking too. But what really appals me is the number of typos. How did they happen? I went over and over it with what I thought was a fine toothcomb, so how did missing/extra spaces, doubled words, random apostrophes and occasional bizarre word order get there? Grrrrr.
In the meantime I've started on another story, sort of based on my Nano novel. Am quite looking forward to seeing where this one goes...
06 January 2009
Here's a selection... (No locks or props as pictures of them seem to involve bad hair and blood, and only three fly-halfs because I put 'fit rugby player' into Google Images and now have to go and have a lie down.)
And, of course, Jonny Wilkinson
(now, unfortunately, retired)
04 January 2009
The answer is the only thing I didn't engage in over Christmas: writing. Not entirely surprising what with all the other stuff that was going on, and not particularly frustrating as I've long since discovered that you can't do everything at the same time all the time. But now back home I'm ready to start up again.
Since I started writing, the process (if I have one at all) has been really erratic: a fortnight of frantic typing and then weeks of nothing; repeat. This year I'm going to organise my time better, be more efficient and write more steadily. At least that's the plan...
Have you made any resolutions?